A meeting to decide the economic future of a large swathe of land surrounding Southend Airport has been postponed until a decision is made on a public inquiry.

More than 7,000 jobs could be created with ambitious plans to enlarge the airport and redevelop the surrounding area with new business parks, but though Southend Council has approved the runway expansion, the Secretary of State must first decide whether to hold a public inquiry.

Because of this, Rochford and Southend Councils issued a joint statement saying the a meeting to discuss the Joint Area Action Plan on February 3 must be put on hold.

Keith Hudson, Rochford’s councillor for planning and transportation, called for a speedy decision on the plans or job opportunities would be lost.

Full story in tomorrow's Echo